Despite a late appointment and a procrastinating mind, I dragged my lazy legs (no disrespect intended, just goes to show how the deluded mind can play games with the noble heart) to Ven Dr K Sri Dhammananda funeral last night.
I arrived around 9.30pm and to my surprise, people are still flocking in to pay their last respect to The Chief Reverend. There are no parking available yet people parked their cars far away and walk to the Buddhist Maha Vihara temple. Fortunately we have RELA members standing by to direct traffic and manage the crowd.
I reached the front gate and I saw dozens of volunteers from Tzu Chi Merits Society welcoming me with their hands clasped together saying "Amithabha". I felt slightly awkward since this is a Theravada temple but nevertheless I remembered The Chief's words of goodwill and compassion above religions and labels. And this is one occassion where every single labels/differences will be put aside to honour a man whose teachings help us live peacefully and happily; and in the process, make this world a better place for everyone.
When it's my turn to pay homage, I knelt down, bow three times then walked to the late Ven Dhammananda casket. I just closed my eyes and said "Thank you. Thank you very much for teaching me how to live my life. Thank you for everything." I walked away after that and at the point, I couldn't help it but tears just flowed down my eyes. I walked outside to the tents to compose myself. I felt kinda embarrased because nobody around me was crying. The Buddha have taught that it's useless to cry and wallow over the dead. Death is a natural thing for all conditioned beings in Samsara. Having calmed down, I walked back into the Main Hall and then sat down behind the other visitors to hear the chanting and reflect. Streams of visitors are still pouring in even though it's after 10pm. I closed my eyes, chant then took refuge in the Triple Gem.
After awhile, I took some pics with my handphone and line-up to pay my homage to the late Ven Dhammananda again. This time I managed to go near the casket and take a final look at the late Ven Dhammananda. He look so serene, calm and peaceful. My heart is finally at ease, having seen the man whose teachings changed the way I lived my life and interact with those around me. It's a real pity I never get to meet him personally when he was alive. Oh well, be contented (another Chief's famous words) - at least I'm well and happy now, more than I could ever be if I had not learn and practice Buddhism.